Rhody Run History
From The Leader OnLine, May 13, 1998
In 1978, Dr. Bill Scheyer wrote a column, "Run For Your Life," in The Leader. He promoted physical fitness, particularly for people recovering from or dealing with medical problems. Scheyer helped inspire a community health fair and, through his experience as a long-distance competitive runner, the idea of hosting a local running event.
The nonprofit Port Townsend Marathon Association was formed, volunteers organized, and the Rhody Run debuted on May 20, 1979. The 492 finishers found a no-host picnic following the 7.5-mile event. Mike Layman established the first course record of 36:37.
In his post-race newspaper column, Scheyer wrote: "Some say that the 7.5-mile Rhody Run had nothing to do with courage -- from their easy chairs they can't even contemplate the truth. The purpose isn't to turn you into what you're not, but to allow you to be the best you are."
Scheyer continued to promote the event for good health, not for first-place medals.
"Out of the 492 finishers there probably weren't more than 25 athletes," Scheyer wrote. "Speed is pretty to see, but endurance saves men's lives, shrinks their waistlines and makes them feel better."
The Rhody Run tradition was established.
A class was staged each spring to condition people for the Rhody Run. There were 752 finishers for Rhody Run II and 1,056 for Rhody Run III. The 2,000 barrier was broken in 1995 with 2,096, and participation has increased steadily.
Rhody Run Timeline
1979 - Rhody Run debuts.
1983 - Port Townsend Marathon Association included a full marathon.
1990 - Post-race beer first served.
2010 - 2,469 finished the Rhody Run!